Monday, September 14, 2020

The nature of state and sovereignty in medieval India

   The nature of state and sovereignty in medieval India 

The nature of State in Medieval India, has been a topic of great controversy amongst the scholar. Scholars like Dr. R.P. Ashraf, Dr. Ishwari Prasad, Prof. A.L. Srivastava, etc. hold that the Muslim state in Medieval India was theocracy. for instance Dr. R.P. Tripathi says, “All the institutions that the Muslims either evolved or adopted were intended to sub-serve the law.” Similarly Dr. Ishwari Parsad says that like other Muslim states, the state in Medieval India was a theocracy. The nature of State in Medieval India, The king was both Caesar also as Pope. But, his authority was restricted by the principles of Shariat.

The nature of State in Medieval India, His rule was supported religion and therefore the Ulemas predomi­nated the State. However, certain other writers like Dr. I.H. Qureshi holds, “The supremacy of the shar” has misled some into thinking that the Sultanate was a theocracy. The essential feature of a theocracy— the rule of an ordained priesthood—is however, missing within the orga­nisation of Muslim state; the jurists are laymen who claim no sacer­dotal immunity from error. The nature of State in Medieval India, Gibb is true in calling the Islamic policy theocentric. Even Mohammad Habib says, “It (Muslim state in India) wasn't a theocratic state in any sense of the word” which “its foundation was, nevertheless, non-religious and secular.” in sight of the 2 conflicting views offered by the students regarding the character of the state in Medieval India, it becomes imperative to look at this issue more thoroughly. 

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First of all, we must attempt to determine what's meant by theocracy. Only then we'll be ready to reach some conclusion regarding the character of state in Medieval India. The nature of State in Medieval India, The term theocracy springs from the Greek word theos, meaning God. Therefore, a theocratic state is one which is governed by God or sacerdotal class. within the first place, we will accept as true with Dr. Qureshi that there was no ordained or hereditary priesthood in Medieval India which is that the essential feature of a theocracy. The Jurists were laymen who claimed no sacerdotal immunity from error and certain laymen like lbn Battuta acted as Qazi of Delhi during Muhammad bin Tughlaq.

The nature of State in Medieval India, However, the appointment of lbn Battuta was a singular case. It can't be denied that mostly the Jurists were taken from class of Ulemas. These Ulemas were orthodox and wielded great influence with the Sultan. Even Dr. Yusuf Husain has testified that these Ulemas were orthodox and got education in Madrasas. This education had a definite religious voice. The Jurists andadvisers of the Sultans and kings were appointed from amongst these Ulemas and that they interpreted the Shara (Islamic law). The nature of State in Medieval India, consistent with lbn Hasan, “The protection of Shariat has two aspects: The propagation of the knowledge of Shara and its enforcement as law within the state The one implies the mainte­nance of a category of students dedicated to the study, the teaching and therefore the propagation of that knowledge, and therefore the other the appointment of 1 Prom those scholars…as an adviser to the king in ail acts of state. the students dedicated to that knowledge are called Ulema and therefore the one selected from among them is termed Shaikh-ul-Islam”

The nature of State in Medieval India, He further says that the Shaikh-ul-Islam was the representative of Ulema and it had been his duty to bring “to the notice of the king what he thought detrimental or prejudicial to the interest of his religion, and therefore the king had little option in acting upon such an advice.

The Shaikh-ul-Islam not only supervised the tutorial institutions but also exercised a kind of censorship over the books prescribed, in various educational institutions also as over the moral ideas of the people. The nature of State in Medieval India, The Shaikh-ul-Islam also kept an in depth touch with the Muslim scholars to make sure a daily supply of Muslim theologians.

These Ulemas exercised great influence on the rulers. Henry Bloch-mann says although Islam has no state clergy, but we discover a counter­part to our hierarchical bodies within the Ulemas about the court from whom the Sadars of the provinces, the Mir Adils, Muftis and Qazis were appointed. The nature of State in Medieval India, At Delhi and Agra, the body of the learned had always consisted of staunch Sunnis, who believed it their duty to stay the kings straight.

How great their influence was, could also be seen from the very fact that of all Muhammaden emperors only Akbar, and maybe Alauddin Khilji, succeeded in putting down this haughty sect.

The nature of State in Medieval India, The second feature of a theocracy is that the prevalence of the law of God, or religious law (as against secular law). it's admitted by most the students that the Medieval Indian state was run on the dictates of the Shara. Dr. Qureshi himself admits that Shara, “is supported the Quran which is believed by every Muslim to be the word of God revealed to his prophet Muhammad …On these two rocks—the Quran and Hadis (the prophet’s interpretation on the revelation embodies in his tradition) is made the structure of Muslim Law… The nature of State in Medieval India,. This Law was the particular sovereign in Muslim lands” In other words, we will say that it's admitted on all hands that the Law which prevailed during Medieval India was Shara, it had been not a secular Law.

This religious law naturally went against the interests of the non-Muslim population of the country which was in majority. it's admitted on all hands that the Hindu population suffered from variety of disabilities. The nature of State in Medieval India, These included the imposition of an invi­dious taxation Jazia.

According to Abu Hanifah; Jazia was collect­ed from the Hindu as an alternate to death. it had been imposed for the primary time in India by Muhammad Bin Qasim, the conqueror of Sindh because he couldn't apply the Quranic law strictly on the Hindus who were in much greater numerical strength. The nature of State in Medieval India, He followed an policy of spiritual tolerance towards Hindus of Sindh and Multan.

This precedent was followed by the later Turkish and Afghan rulers of India. The nature of State in Medieval India, Sir Jadunath Sarkar says that it had been considered to be the very best duty of the Muslim rulers to hold on Jihad by “waging war against infidel lands (Dar-ul-Harb) till they became a neighborhood of the realm of Islam (Dar-ul-Islam), and their populations are converted into true believers.

During the rule of the first Muslim rulers, the Hindus were relegated to an inferior position and weren't permitted to watch their religious rites publicly . The nature of State in Medieval India,  They were also not permitted to hold on any religious propaganda or to create new temples or repair the old ones, Certain disabilities were also imposed on them with reference to civic rights and employment under the State.

The nature of State in Medieval India, In tact they were considered as mediocre citizens as compared to the Muslim population. Prof A.L. The nature of State in Medieval India, Srivastava says “Throughout the amount of the Sultanate of Delhi (1206 —1526) and actually for nearly 40 years after its extinction, there existed in our country two grades of citizenship—the superior grade for Muslims who constituted the privileged class, and therefore the inferior grade for the Hindus who were treated as a depressed class in their own homeland.”

The Brahmans were exempted from the Jazia by the first Sultans but Firoz Tughlaq imposed Jazia on them also. The nature of State in Medieval India, This was greatly resented by the Brahmans and that they resorted to fast. consistent with Afif, seeing miserable conditions of the Brah­mans the Hindus of Delhi visited them and said that they ought to not sacrifice their lives for the sake of jazia and offered to pay jazia on their behalf.

V.A. Smith says that as a result Firoz Tughlaq became little lenient and reduced the quantity of jazia to be paid by the Brah­mans, but he didn't fully exempted them from this tax. The nature of State in Medieval India, Dr. Pandey is of the opinion that jazia was only collected from the Hindus living within the cities, and people living within the countryside weren't subjected thereto for the aim of realisation of jazia the whole popula­tion was divided into three categories: those belonging to the primary category had to pay 48 dirhams while those belonging to the second and third categories had to pay 24 and 12 dirhams respectively. The nature of State in Medieval India, Women, children, beggars and lame people were exempted from jazia. This tax was purely a spiritual tax and was a transparent proof of discriminatory policy followed by the contemporary rulers.

All the rulers during the Medieval times were sure to rule consistent with the law of Islam. The nature of State in Medieval India, Though the Muslim rulers were permitted to border new laws consistent with the circumstances with the counsel of wise men, but only a few rulers dared to border such laws and therefore the Shara continued to be supreme throughout the Sultanate period.

The nature of State in Medieval India, Many rulers during Medieval times were tolerant naturally but none (except Akbar) could ever dare to form laws which could ensure equity and fair play to all or any the sections of the population. The nature of State in Medieval India, We don't encounter any law or regulation promulgated by the opposite Medieval Indian rulers to the present effect. it had been for the primary time- Akbar, who promulgated variety of regulations for the great of the people.

These regulations included the abolition of the practice of enslaving prisoners of war, pilgrim tax and jazia. The nature of State in Medieval India, Akbar also passed number of laws imposing restrictions on the sale of liquor,, child marriage, restraining of early marriage, prohibition of sati, widow re-marriage etc.

He took a bold step of according freedom to the people to settle on the faith of their choice. He even permitted the forcibly converted people to travel back to their original religion. The nature of State in Medieval India, Although, Akbar laid down certain rules and regulations, these survived only during his life time. Furthermore the orthodox nobles and Ulemas greatly disliked these rules.

In the third place, we discover that in the Medieval times no ruler might be safe on his throne unless he enforced the Shara. The nature of State in Medieval India, No doubt, certain rulers like Ala-ud-Din Khilji and Muhammad Tughlaq made efforts to free themselves from the restraints of Shara but this was greatly resented by the Ulemas.

The nature of State in Medieval India, That is why the Ulemas obtained from the successors of those two rulers an assurance that they might rule consistent with the tenets of justice and law. it's documented to the scholars of Medieval Indian history that Firoz Shah Tughlaq fully lived up to undertaking and carried on his administra­tion consistent with the religious laws.

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